Wednesday, March 20, 2019: Full Moon on the Equinox During Mercury Retrograde. Yeah.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Spring Equinox

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post about balance. Because, you know, Equinox, and why not make connections?

Client work was fine on Monday. We got a lot done. I learned I didn’t land a gig that I wanted, although I knew it was a stretch. But they were gracious and I’m going to keep in touch. I also got out a couple more LOIs. There was a third place to which I wanted to pitch, but their online process was insulting to anyone who has ever held a professional position, to I passed.

Meditation group was great. We have so much fun together, and make actual progress together.

When I got home, there was an email from someone “checking” something with me — only because that individual knew I’d find out about it, and if they hadn’t believed they’d get caught out and I would be angry, the individual would have tried to get away with it. Not amused. At all.

I’m going over the material today, either signing off or not, and will be gracious until the end of this project, and then I’m done with them, at least until there’s a major staff turnover.

The Women Write Change group helped me brainstorm the ending for “Smile” which wasn’t working. They had great ideas. I tried each one of them in a run-through. I thought I’d found what I wanted, a variation on a suggestion; yesterday morning, I made one little tweak and now it’s right.

“Quicksand” wound up being much weaker when I spoke it than it looked on the page. It needed major, major reworking.

But that’s why it’s so important to rehearse a reading, and not just stand up there and mumble.

When I was finished with rehearsal, I found an email from the director of the piece opening next Monday. She directed my last piece with this company, and she’s great. She had a question about an Elvis song and rights. I was really confused, because my piece is set in the 1920s, so Elvis isn’t appropriate. I gently pointed this out, and said I had no problem cutting the song, since I didn’t think it fit anyway. She then realized she’d contacted the wrong writer! (She’s juggling multiple projects). We had a good laugh over it.

Tuesday I tweaked the monologues in the morning, did some more work on GAMBIT, worked with a client, got out some more LOIs, and rehearsed. The stopwatch is going in these rehearsals, since I have only 5 minutes for both monologues, and I can’t rush through them or the beats and laughs won’t land. I had to finalize where to take a breath, where to let a beat land, etc.

Equinox ceremony as the sun came up. Great way to start the new cycle.

Today I’m with a client, and then I have some prep time before I go and read. I’m nervous, because I’m always nervous. I write words actors speak, not for me to speak. But, especially for the monologues, for anything that’s a script, I have to embody actorish techniques in order for the pieces to work.

And reading from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST in this part of the Cape, which is pathetically conservative, will be a challenge. On a full moon during Mercury Retrograde on the Equinox?

Challenge is an understatement.

Back to the page.

Wed. March 6, 2019: Getting Back on Track

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
New Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold!

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about guidelines.

Monday, I felt awful. I had both an old-fashioned tummy ache and an earache. I was not a happy camper.

After working with a client, I went to the library. I did some work in the front room, but it was chaotic, so I went in the back, in a big chair near the window. I read a bit, some authors who had been recommended to me, but who were new to me.

I also started working on ANOTHER, the strange idea that’s been pulling at me. I can already tell it’s going to be a book that doesn’t write quickly. No 1K daily quotas on this one. It’s going to be my reward when I finish what I have to do each day; then I get to spend some time on this novel.

I’ve brainstormed some of it with the Women Write Change group. They’ve been very helpful. Also gave some feedback on another member’s play.

The meditation group helped a lot. Gave me a chance to quiet down and focus on healing. There’s also a Wednesday afternoon restorative yoga class that I’d like to add to my schedule.

Came home and made scrambled eggs with spinach and corn for supper, which was perfect for a dicky tummy.

Yesterday, up early. Got some work done on pitches and a novel before I had to head out to work with the client.

I had weird dreams, Monday going into Tuesday. With an ensemble of characters with whom I was well-acquainted in the dream, but can’t identify when I’m awake. Part of a progressive dream series I’ve had about these people, although I have no idea who they are when I’m awake, or why I’d dream about them.

Then, picked up a few things at the grocery store before heading to the library. Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, so it was pancakes for supper. I’m not a big pancake fan, but my mom loves them, and this seemed like a good reason to have some.

Today, I’m with a client, and then back to the page (unless I manage to get to yoga). I want to focus on the monologues a bit, and keep working on the pitches. I’d like to get a couple of them out tomorrow.

Back to the page.

 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019: Hit The Ground Running and Hitting Back at Those Who Denigrate Artists

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Time to hit the ground running. I have a few thoughts on that, over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Friday wore me out. I had to take the car in (which wasn’t as bad as I feared). I spent time with a client, then had some running around to do.

I was also still spinning ideas for the online brainstorming session I had with Jackie Kessler, Deanna Rayburn, and Erin Cronican on new material for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST.

WOMEN WITH AN EDGE is a show with legs. Some of the material is evergreen; some is dated. It’s time for another show along the same lines that deal with topics relevant now. I have a few places I can test material, although there’s not a theatre on Cape who’d have the guts to produce the piece. Too right-wing around here.

But we brainstormed pages of notes, and I’ve taken it further. I threw some ideas into the Women Write Change forum as well on Monday, so I’m sure that will generate more ideas.

I want to write the first couple of monologues this week.

Saturday was unseasonably warm. I had another run to the store (because there’s always one more thing). We got the garbage to the dump (and the guys got their cookies).

I started playing with some more ideas. Because ideas come in batches. So it’s important to take notes, date the notes, and then figure what’s pulling hardest and where to put what.

Sunday I managed fourteen pages on an idea with which I’m playing — I think it will work. My two main protagonists are deliciously more complicated and manipulative than I originally envisioned. It will be interesting to see how they play off each other. A missing music composition is a big part of the story, too.

Worked on the proposal for the play set in Renaissance Venice. With that, and the anti-gun violence play, and the two women authors play, and WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, that’s four stage plays and three novels releasing this year. Minimum.

We’re pushing the Jain Lazarus re-release back to 2020. It doesn’t make sense to do it this year. That way, in 2020, the third Gwen-Justin book releases, the third Nautical Namaste releases, the fifth Coventina Circle releases — along with the first three Jain Lazarus. Those are all outlined — it’s a case of writing/revising.

This year, I’m scrambling to get BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA out on schedule — last year was just too much. GRAVE REACH will be in good shape in a few months, and ready for edits. And we’re still trying to figure out if the Justice by Harpy trilogy can come out this year.

Plus, I want to make room to have at least one stand-alone a year.

I’m posting this on Monday, so I have no idea what my Eve and Day will be. I’m determined to make them good. I’m determined not to teeter at the edge of the abyss I usually find myself on every New Year’s Eve.

I have worlds to build.

Social media has just been depressing lately. I know I need it for the books and the writing. I enjoy genuine interaction, and I’ve met some great people.

But there’s too much viciousness. And too much whining.

You want to be a full time artist? Then you have to rearrange your life and put the work first. You can’t do it all and have it all. If you want to be a part-time artist in order to have a more balanced life, fine, go ahead. But don’t whine at those of us who made the choices and put in the work about “not having time to write.” You are CHOOSING not to write. You are CHOOSING other elements in your life over the writing. And they are your choices. So own them.

I’m also tired of being attacked for earning money from my work. Loving my work does not forfeit my right to earn a living at it — provided I’m willing to put in the work. I am. I do.

Those who aren’t willing to put in the work or believe getting paid for art and craft is “selling out” can go to hell. Because I have stuff to do and can’t be bothered.

And all these attacks on artists as not being smart or who shouldn’t have opinions or participate in political activism? Those who make their living in the arts tend to be smarter and more committed than those around them, or they couldn’t do it.

If you think artists are stupid, if you attack them for being intelligent, articulate, and committed to building a better world, yeah, you can go to hell, too.

I have no time for these jealous, petty morons. People who attack artists generally do so out of spite, because they hate that artists have the talent and the skills and the work ethic, and, most importantly, the COURAGE to put it all on the line.

I’m not arguing with them. I’m not “debating” with them. Let those who are only in it to cause trouble and spread spite twist in the wind.

I have art to create. I have work to do. I have a world to change, one story at a time.

 

Published in: on January 2, 2019 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Wednesday, January 2, 2019: Hit The Ground Running and Hitting Back at Those Who Denigrate Artists  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Nov. 15, 2018: Passion, Creativity, and a Dark Night of the Soul

Thursday, November 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

 

It never ceases to amaze me how often people criticize others in order to feel more powerful themselves, or because they feel threatened by others’ talents.

That’s kind of the entire GOP platform at this point — dehumanize anyone they deem “different.” Only give basic human rights to those who do as they’re told.

Which is a conversation for another day, but an ongoing one we need to have here in the U.S.

Again, if you haven’t read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, do so now.

I’ve been called “difficult” often over the years because I walk my talk, I’m passionate about my work, and I’m ruthless about protecting my creative time. I’ve grown to embrace the “difficult” moniker because these are things I’m not willing to change about myself. The toll is too high. And, frankly, I’m old enough not to really give a damn what most people think.

I recently came across some old journals, as I’m cleaning out the basement. That younger me who was in so much pain with this man or that man in my life tried to demean or demoralize me for being creative and passionate, telling me I was “too much” or had to “tone it down.” Or the one who said I “didn’t give him enough to complain about” and he felt left out when his friends bitched about their wives and girlfriends.

They were all kicked to the curb, and it was the right decision. I stayed true to my core. Had I stayed with any of them, I would be miserable now.

Hell, I might not even be alive.

There have been some wonderful men in my life, even though we’ve chosen not to stay together forever. I tend to have long stretches of being single rather than going from relationship to relationship, because I learned the hard way that it’s lonelier to be with the wrong person that to be alone.

I’ve been told I’m not a “real” writer (even though that’s how I earn my living) because I write more than one thing, because I do marketing writing as well as novels and plays and radio drama, because I write in genre instead of “literary” fiction, because I’m not published by one of the Big Five, because I worked in theatre, because I worked in a library — it just goes on and on and on.

You know what? Go ahead and define me. I’ll just keep working and cash my checks.

Am I rich? No. But I’m building the life and career I want.

Am I famous? No, and with luck and careful strategy, I never will be. I spent many years working with actors and directors, many of them big names. I don’t want what comes with fame.

A little more financial security that buys me freedom? Yeah. I’ll take it. Fame? No. Let those who like it have it.

When I was nervous about reading at the festival in Provincetown this year, an actor friend in the UK (for whom I’ve written) asked, “Do you trust the work?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “Then get out of the way and let the work breathe. Trust the work.”

He was right, and it was a good experience. It’s also one of the reasons he’s getting to be a known name (and no, I’m not going to name drop here).

None of that created the dark night of the soul of this title.

As many of you know, it’s been a tough year for me. A year of loss. Deaths in the family, deaths of friends, of my elderly cat, health issues in the family, other pressures, a tight contract schedule, intense political activism (which has brought me into contact and sometimes friendship with people I might never have crossed paths with otherwise). I have had a lot of demands on me physically, emotionally, creatively.

There have also been plenty of friends, family members, colleagues, and others in my life who have needed my love and support, and to whom I gave and continue to give it willingly. They are not a burden. They are my heart.

In October, I received a disappointment that shook my confidence in my work. Had nothing to do with publication or production, and I’m not going into detail about it publicly. But it devastated me, and I’m still trying to recover and get my creative feet back under me. Intellectually, I should be able to shrug and move on; emotionally, it’s much more difficult.

Trying to create in this political atmosphere is, anyway, like swimming through molasses. Says the chick who never learned how to swim. But you get the idea.

It’s necessary, and yes, I do take the position that all art is political. Even art that claims not to be supports the status quo.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be light and entertaining and fun.

Chuck Wendig had a terrific thread on Twitter the other day about the importance of creating, of “making stuff” — both because we as artists need to do so, and the world needs it.

I re-read HEART SNATCHER, the draft of the ass-kicking novel I wrote several years ago. It’s filled with rage I felt as a woman at unchecked violence against women and people who can’t defend themselves. It’s urban fantasy, not “literary” and its protagonist is charged with fulfilling justice, especially when the law moves away from justice. The writing was praised, but I was told to tone it down, that “women’s rage makes readers uncomfortable.” I put it away, but I think its time has come.

I started Women Write Change to create a place where women can develop creative projects sparked by what’s going on in the world. That’s been a great help.

Also, ideas come in batches. I got ideas for several new short stories. I’m doing research and will write a play about gun violence and possible solutions. That was inspired by a conversation I had with an actress friend on Twitter, when we felt so angry and helpless after Stoneman Douglas. I started PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, a novel that also deals with gun violence (among other things) when I was so uncomfortable about a gun vendor being part of that awful shopping/liquor event I did with my client a few weeks back.

Veterans’ Day weekend brought a batch of new/old ideas and inspirations, growing out of conversations with vets I’ve worked with on various projects over the years, vets I’ve gotten to know on social media as we fight to save our country in our various ways, and my experience working/talking/caring over the years.

Mixed into that is the book on the tightest deadline just isn’t working. I can’t fill it with the effervescence it needs right now. Everything is forced. The darker piece due next is doing better, but this one, I’m struggling, and I feel like I’m failing — myself, my editor, my readers.

I’m looking at some huge, huge changes in my life in the coming year (and I’m sure there will be plenty of unplanned stuff). I’m trying to prepare for those on every level.

And I’m tired of being tired, angry, and sad all the time — again, that’s mostly due to the state of the country.

Tuesday going into Wednesday was pretty rocky for me, and Tuesday night was basically a Dark Night of the Soul. I’ve had these periodically, and some are darker than others. I’ve learned how to create a container of ritual for these now, which supports the experience and makes it a tool to get somewhere instead of a downward spiral into the abyss.

Once the emotion was burned away (and there was plenty of that), there was clarity. I won’t go so far as to say “peace” — but there was clarity on several things. I’m now taking steps to make some adjustments.

There was also a fresh surge of creative energy, which is always welcome, and when I make the adjustments I need to make, I will be able to shape it into something that might help someone else get through a bad day.

One of the comments that mattered most to me about my work came in a letter that arrived about a year after one of my plays was produced in Australia. The writer had come to the play at a particularly low point in her life. Low enough to consider suicide. She came to the play (which also touched on the topic), and it made her see things in a new way. It made her feel that she mattered and SHE could instigate her own changes. A year later, she had a job she liked, working her way to a job she loved; her own apartment; and was in the early stages of a relationship she felt was the first healthy one in a long time.

During that production in Australia, I hit a particularly low point, my own danger zone. I attended someone else’s production, which got me down another train of thought, and I would up staying up for a couple of days and writing a play about a suicidal woman stalked by a serial killer. Both want her dead, but who gets to control it? Which became one of my signature works.

When I hit a particularly bad patch, I remember that, and it helps get things into perspective.

I’m feeling like I have more perspective, and that I can make some positive decisions.

And please, please remember that you matter, your creativity matters, your contribution to the world matters.

Published in: on November 15, 2018 at 5:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 15, 2018: Passion, Creativity, and a Dark Night of the Soul  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Nov. 8, 2018: Talking and Writing

Thursday, November 08, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Worked onsite with a client yesterday, trying to juggle several things. Came home a bit tired; didn’t get much done, although I’m getting back into the groove with DAVY JONES DHARMA. I need to sit with the outline for a few hours this afternoon and tweak it, and streamline a bit. It’s getting a little too higgeldy=piggeldy.

Working on next week’s Ink-Dipped Advice post about choosing the language that fits your work or your client’s work best. Came out of a conversation I had yesterday with my client about how the previous marketing person was condescending and wanted to use platforms and language that didn’t suit the business.

Finished watching the third season of the Australian drama JANET KING. Second season is still my favorite, although it’s always well done.

Things are going well on the Women Write Change forum.

Got some sad news about a friend, who got a devastating diagnosis.

Had a lovely coffee with someone I met via a networking event a few months ago. We went to Three Fins Coffee in Dennis, which is a really cool place, and had a great conversation on a wide range of topics. It’s terrific to talk to someone who loves what they do, who has a wide frame of reference, is engaged in the world, and with whom one can actually have conversations!

Spending this afternoon digging in to both DAVY JONES DHARMA and PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, and a conversation about a potential one-and-done gig in Boston at the end of next week.

Because of the mass shooting in CA yesterday, I also want to get some more work done on the anti-gun violence play.

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here, and then the Yuletide Holiday Season!

Although, I admit, I’m looking forward to decorating for the holidays! It’s such fun and so festive.

It will be Lucy’s first Christmas with us. Tessa’s really good about the decorations, so it will be interesting to see how Lucy fares with all the stuff.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 8, 2018 at 11:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 8, 2018: Talking and Writing  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano

Relics 4

Friday, November 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Busy week.

RELICS & REQUIEM is out; if you haven’t yet bought a copy, I hope you do! As I’ve said a million times, I’m very fond of Amanda and Phineas.

There’s an article about cabinets of curiosities that’s only available in the book, and the first chapter of the fourth book, GRAVE REACH, which comes out next October. That book is Lesley and Sam’s.

Monday was caught up with my mom’s health issues. Tuesday, I was back onsite with a client, and also got some decent work on DAVY JONES DHARMA. Plus, doing some interaction on the Women Write Change forum.

I also got an idea for a new novel — something I don’t need right now. But the characters are insistent, and it was sparked by something I experienced this week. I’ve been playing with it, in and around other projects. I love my two protagonists. It deals with both gun violence and the opiod crisis, which means it could fit as something that can be developed in the Women Write Change project. Along with the other stuff I’m doing there. I just feel like I need to blow off some steam with this project.

Wednesday was a crazy-making day, having to run around and do errands at 7 AM, meet my client early to load up the vehicle for Thursday’s event, work onsite, and then get home and finish the prep for the holiday.

I picked up extra candy, and I’m glad I did, because we had more kids this year than we’ve ever had — around 30. We had two little ones early on, and I was worried they would be the only ones who showed up. But the rest came in large groups, later in the evening, much later than usual. There were some teenagers, and they seemed worried that they’d get flack for being out. But they had creative costumes and were interesting people, so I chatted with them for a bit and sent them on their way. There was also a flatbed truck, filled with about a dozen kids from toddler to about eight. The truck parked at the top of the street, and the kids went from house to house, then climbed back in and sang their way to the next street. It was adorable. And what a great idea!

I have to say, the fathers stepped up this year. I’m guessing the moms stayed home to hand out candy and the dads went out with the kids. Made me wish I’d prepped a pot of coffee or batch of hot chocolate in take-out cups for them.

Anyway, it was very cute.

And it turns out Lucy, our newish rescue cat, loves trick-or-treaters and they loved her! She wasn’t scared at all. She wanted to meet everyone. Tessa, my black cat, kept herding her away from the door.

Now that Lucy’s not afraid all the time, she’s starting to understand more and explore her freedoms. And she’s starting to understand us more when we talk to her. She and Tessa aren’t snuggling up together yet, but they’d rather be near each other than apart.

Samhain ritual was good. I kept it simple this year, and had done part of it earlier in the afternoon, and then the rest of it late at night. The next few nights are ceremonies for the dead.

Thursday was a long day. The cats got me up early. We had our morning routine, I remembered to put on the new registration sticker on the car and the new insurance cards in the glove compartment.

Then, I wrote. I worked on a new edition of 30 Tips for 30 Days, which I think I will release as a permanently free book via Draft2Digital. I need a new cover and maybe some graphics, but it could be a good tool. Since Nano is free, I wouldn’t feel right charging for anything that talked about Nano.

Thursday afternoon, I met my client, and we set up for the big event. I have to say, it was one of the worst organized events I have ever been involved with. That was not on my client – we were participating vendors. It was on the organizers.

Basically, it was set up like a trailer park yard sale. If I’d been a ticket buyer, I would have demanded my money back.

As a vendor, we were promised a designated space. Even though we bought a middle tiered slot, we were put in the back corner, facing away from the bulk of the events. We took out the ugly accoutrements they had and put up our own displays. So at least we looked good.

Our entry fee was supposed to include dinner. When I asked about when we were supposed to eat, I was told, “oh, just go to the food table whenever and bring it back to your booth.”

First of all, we can’t eat in the booth. Around clothes. Second, even if there wasn’t danger to the clothes, it’s tacky and unprofessional to be chowing down in front of customers.

So we wound up not eating.

Ticket holders were annoyed because it was advertised as serving drinks as part of the ticket (nothing about cash bar). Not only was the bar cash, but it was, literally, cash only. No cards.

The carpeting in the “ballroom” was old and dirty and disgusting. They’d set up a speaker next to us and we couldn’t hear our customers, and they couldn’t hear us. When we asked them to turn it down, they turned it up.

We weren’t asked to participate in the “fashion” show – my client is a clothing designer, how is that appropriate? They had a few box stores participating. Although, when you saw how the models clomped around and didn’t even bother to stand straight, maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

The organizers were passive aggressive. Everyone was supposed to do a raffle. Every time, in the prep weeks, I’d asked about the raffle, I was told something different. When I went to have the winner announced over the speaker system, the organizers told me that wouldn’t happen and we had to “figure out how to get people back to your booth and do it there.” WTF?

I hunted down the DJ myself and asked nicely. He was lovely, and, of course, agreed to do it.

Fortunately, we loaded out in about ten minutes as soon as it was done.

Nightmare.

Not worth our time.

Anything this particular “media group” runs around here is trash.

Not only will I not work another of these, I will advise my clients not to waste their money participating.

Home, exhausted.

Up late this morning, which means I’m behind on everything.

I’m meeting a new contact for coffee, which should be fun. I need the break. Then some more running around in the afternoon, and then writing and working on a couple of things for Women Write Change.
Took down the exterior decorations before the heavy rain started. It will take most of the weekend to put away the interior decorations and get the curtains switched out from spiderwebs to the heavy winter curtains.

Onward.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2018 at 8:56 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Oct. 19, 2018: Conference Lessons

Friday, October 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. Spent most of it in session at the Global Human Rights Conference. Took pages and pages and pages of notes, and gathered contact information. There’s so much information, and it’s relevant on so many different levels.

There’s also a realization that the US has been a disappointment on the world stage. Not just since 2016, although it’s gotten exponentially worse since then. But, as I’ve said for years, it’s devolved since Reagan. The lack of commitment and will to enhance, support, and expand universal human rights because it’s inconvenient for dictatorships and, especially, for multi-national corporations is appalling.

So is this current regime’s willingness to accept money to shrug off the murder and dismemberment of a journalist. I’m not surprised at this administration at all, but it’s revolting. This is the test balloon, to see how much killing they can get away with. They’ll do it overtly, and also by gutting healthcare, taking away earned benefits like Social Security, and the rest, with the intent that those who can’t afford to bribe them will die.

Women Write Change is going well; I’m enjoying the discussions, and I can feel new ideas percolating.

Got another round of copyedits/galleys done on RELICS, and hope the final round will be done this weekend.

Have to step up the work on DHARMA. This draft is behind, which then puts me behind on BALTHAZAAR.

Dithering about whether or not to submit a proposal to a conference that has a small chance of conflicting with another proposal I’m waiting to hear back on, at a different event. Not sure if submitting means I’m hedging my bets, or if it means I assume I won’t get the first, and have given up.

I gave my speech early this morning, video-conferencing in. Nothing like having to be camera-ready at 4:30 AM, due to time zones. It went well. We’ll see what the reaction is. I was definitely intimidated by the scope of the other contributors. I’m worried that mine was too simplistic: Basic human decency leading into holding individuals accountable AS individuals who commit human rights violations leading into the power and necessity of art to both bear witness and provoke change.

I’m glad it’s over, and immediately changed into fuzzy, comfort clothes when I was done. Since I won’t be on camera for sessions today, I can wear what I want!

Writing and edits and yard work and the last of the conference are on the agenda for today. I HAVE to get back on track for DHARMA.

And I have to get groceries into the house, or I will be very unhappy.

The car feels fantastic after the oil change. What a relief. I still have to get the hatch fixed, but one thing at a time.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on October 19, 2018 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 19, 2018: Conference Lessons  
Tags: , , , , ,

Wed. Oct. 17, 2018: Challenges

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Working steadily on the galleys for RELICS. Had hoped to turn around the first set yesterday, but couldn’t. So that’s on the agenda for today.

I’m behind on DHARMA because I misplaced the notes with all the treasure hunt clues. So I have to recreate them to fit the outline and drive the plot. I’ll do that the next few days and then dig in to write more than the daily quota on DHARMA this weekend.

That’s what I get for not having a typed copy, a backup copy, AND my handwritten notes.

Having fun with the Women Write Change forum. I think we’ll get some good work done.

In discussion with my publisher and cover designer about the designs for the Justice By Harpy Trilogy. It will have a very stark, distinct look.

Preparing for Friday. The conference officially starts today; I’ll spend some time on it tomorrow, but Friday is my big day.

Have to remind a client that the job parameters don’t get to change in the moment. They have to be discussed, and then compensated. It may be time to wind things up with this particular client in the next few months.

Hopefully, the weather will be good enough this weekend so I can do yard work, start putting the yard to bed for the winter, and put up the decorations.

Still trying to get the car appointments sorted out, and the rental inspection, and a few other things.

Back to the page.

I have to get an oil change first thing in the morning, so I’ll be late blogging.

Published in: on October 17, 2018 at 2:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 17, 2018: Challenges  
Tags: , , , ,

Tues. Oct. 16, 2018: Creating and Other Busy Times

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Sorry I didn’t blog on Friday. I never even made it out of the house. We had bad storms, so I wasn’t online, and cancelled out of my appointments. I’m lucky I didn’t have to be out in that weather.

I stayed in and worked on the RELICS revision, and re-worked the first chapter of Coventina Circle #4, GRAVE REACH, which is Lesley’s story. It took 14 hours, but it was good work, and, when I finally could get online, it went out to my editor.

Now we’re in galleys. It’s a very tight turnaround, since the book releases this month, but the revision cycles we did for this make me feel good about the book. If we worked in print, it wouldn’t be possible to stay on this schedule.

Finished, polished, and sent the review I was working on. Worked on Friday’s speech.

Worked on the Women Write Change forum. We have a few new members. It’s going to take awhile to spread the word. And that’s okay. The point is to have a contained creative space with like-minded women, giving participating artists freedom to create.

One of my main email addresses on the fearlessink site was hacked, with the same threats. So now it’s about filing the paperwork, temporarily suspending the address, etc. I’m working with Submittable to merge my account under that address with my main personal email address, which is simpler.

This is on 1&1. They are punishing me for moving hosts by lowering security. They dragged their feet so I couldn’t move the domain registrations before they renewed, and now, until I can move over to Name Silo, I’m going to have these problems. They’re just awful. I will be glad when I’m disentangled them for good.

The weather was dreadful all weekend, except for Sunday, when I couldn’t work in the yard, so I didn’t get the yard work done. I’m trying to find a place to get a decent oil change around here. When did it become such a big deal to get a basic oil change? This area has really devolved in the past few years.

Client work yesterday was challenging, and I’m sure it will be today and tomorrow.

All I really want to do is finish the galleys, start the promotion for RELICS, and prep for Friday’s speech.

DAVY JONES DHARMA and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE are chugging along. I think DAVY JONES, in particular, will be lots of fun. BALTHAZAAR has a few surprises in store that will shake readers.

I keep making notes for GRAVE REACH, which is percolating nicely, too. I have a very basic outline for it, done when I outlined the series. It won’t come out until next October; two books a year from this series is too tight a schedule right now. I’m happy with the first chapter, though. It hits some good points.

Developing some ideas that I want to work on for Women Write Change, in addition to the revision on HEART SNATCHER and researching the anti-gun violence play. I’m not sure if it will be a series of short pieces, or feed into something bigger. They’re mostly to blow off steam and frustration, but, after that initial cathartic draft, maybe I’ll have something that can be shaped into a viable piece.

I’m also playing with what I hope will be a flash fiction about solitary confinement.

I’m reading a wonderful book by Mary Gabriel called NINTH STREET WOMEN, about five women painters whose work changed the art landscape. It’s relevant to Women Write Change.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 16, 2018 at 1:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 16, 2018: Creating and Other Busy Times  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mon. Oct. 15, 2018: When Tolerance Is Used as a Weapon #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, October 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

I could go on at length about this topic. There are plenty of facets to it.

The bottom line is simple: You are not required to tolerate someone who wants to harm you.

background-beautiful-blossom-268533 (1)

On a side note, for those of you who are enraged by the current situation and want to channel that rage into developing art (in any discipline), I’ve started an invitation-only group for progressive artists identifying as female called Women Write Change. I created the sanctuary I need right now. The guidelines are here. If you want to participate, the email to send a request is at the bottom of the guidelines.

Take care of yourself.

Published in: on October 15, 2018 at 4:18 am  Comments Off on Mon. Oct. 15, 2018: When Tolerance Is Used as a Weapon #UpbeatAuthors  
Tags: ,

Thurs. Oct. 11, 2018: Creativity & Women Write Change

 Thursday, October 11, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Muggy and cloudy

Dealt with a hell of a migraine yesterday. Left the client an hour early, because I couldn’t be productive. Light, which usually doesn’t bother me, did. Usually, it’s sound, because I have hyper-accusis, and I’m so hyper-sensitive to sound.

Came home and tried to rest. Took Tessa out onto the deck. It was covered, so I was protected from the glare. Even though it was hot and humid, I could relax. It took a few hours, but the migraine finally released its grip.

Stayed up late to work on RELICS & REQUIEM. Ripped apart and re-structured the section that was the most problematic. It’s much better now. It still needs a couple more tweaks.

Got most of the forum set up for Women Write Change. I have to do some introductory posts, finesse the guidelines, and then it can open for participants. The guidelines page is up on the Devon Ellington Work site, with the address to request an invitation.

I’m creating the project I need in my life right now. If there are others who want to take the journey, great. If not, I continue on my own.

Today, I have to work on Women Write Change, work on RELICS, and finish a review for a book. I also have to take my mom to a medical appointment and run some errands. I’m hoping to find a garage who will give me a fair price for an oil change.

Governor Baker is telling people to vote No on Question 1, that would require adequate staffing at hospitals. Yeah, the guy who refused to vote for one of the candidates for president in 2016 has NO grounds for telling anyone how to vote now.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 11, 2018 at 9:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 11, 2018: Creativity & Women Write Change  
Tags: , , ,

Wed. Oct. 10, 2018: A Creative Place to Put the Rage

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest post!

Disheartening times. We no longer have a functioning democratic republic in this country. We need to stop talking about “civility” and the “high road.”

Don’t even get me started on Susan Collins. She needs to be removed far before 2020. The fact her husband is a lobbyist should disqualify her (and any candidate) from office.

Friday was a blur of grocery shopping and appointments and trying to get my act together and feeling awful. Finally got a quote from the mechanic — they want to charge me over $100 for an oil change — before adding in labor — for something that usually costs me $40? I don’t think so. And they “can’t” give me an estimate on the rest of the work? Did they sell the business to someone? Or do I need to find a new mechanic?

Shopping around for other quotes. I might have to get the work done piecemeal.

PetSmart Customer Disservice is a disgrace. Instead of addressing and solving the problem, they sent me a form letter and a coupon. No. That’s not what I wanted. I don’t want free stuff. I want them to stop slapping me in the face after being a customer for over 20 years. I have to ask Purina where else they distribute ProPlan. Not shopping at PetSmart anymore.

The ARC I won from Jenn McKinlay, HITTING THE BOOKS arrived, and I read it. It’s well-done. Yes, I figured it out, but I still enjoyed the journey, and the way the character relationships are growing.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, filled with great stuff. A nice treat.

It took most of the day to clean the oven and the stove, but it was worth it.

Was ill overnight on Friday, which meant I had to cancel out of plans on Saturday. Had to run a few errands. Baked a chive batter bread, which looks better than it tastes, sadly.

Saturday, I went to pick up a prescription for my mom. An old white man driving a Mercedes screamed at me in the CVS parking lot that he had the right of way (he didn’t), because “you’re only a woman.”

The Kavanaugh Effect has already started. White men emboldened to act on their misplaced senses of entitlement more than ever.

On the positive side, this new revision of RELICS & REQUIEM is going well. I’m fixing the problems. The book is much, much stronger now, and tearing out that secondary plot line allows the relationship between Amanda and Phineas to shine.

Unfortunately, that puts me even further behind on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Needing something to do with all this rage, I went back and re-read HEART SNATCHER, the first in the Justice By Harpy Trilogy, and what I’ve written in HEART BINDER, the second book.

There’s a lot of stuff in there that works. And the timing of the book is right. I stopped submitting the book a few years ago. The universal notes from agents and editors were that the writing was strong, but “women’s rage makes readers uncomfortable.”

You know what? Too fucking bad.

This book’s time has come.

I sent the latest draft (which still needs work) to my editor, to see what she says about it. Since we’re still trying to negotiate only doing one Coventina Circle a year, and scheduling the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures, maybe this is something they can use instead of two Coventina Circle Books. The whole trilogy is outlined, and i have a third of book 2 written. They would have to come out pretty close together to work, but it’s important that the first book ride the wave. It’s time is now, and if I hesitate, I’ll miss it.

I’ve been re-reading WOMEN ON THE CASE, a Sisters in Crime anthology edited by Sara Paretsky that came out in 1996. It’s eerily relevant (not to mention filled with gorgeous writing). It also makes me feel that Sisters in Crime has softened too much from its original purpose.

Barbara Ross wrote a piece on the need for cozy mysteries entertainment and escape during dark times on The Wickeds.  While I agree with it, and I think we need to write relevant work that writes our way to a better world, I think WOMEN ON THE CASE, and most of the early Sisters in Crime anthologies show it’s possible to do both.  Although, to give the cozy its due, the murderers are brought to justice. Which is something we’re not seeing enough of in the real world.

I mentioned on Twitter that, for this year’s Nano, we need a Women’s Rage/Women Write Change forum, dedicated to the politics of the day, the rage, and writing the change we want to see in the world. The Nanowrimo organization needs to stay neutral and completely inclusive. I respect that. But I need something different this year. So I will build it myself.

I’ve also been unhappy in the Nano forums the last couple of years. They used to be a big part of why I hung out on them. Interesting people from all over the world writing and getting to know each other. The last few years, though, any time I mentioned a published book or answered a question about publishing, the moderators scolded me for “self-promotion.” Which it wasn’t. It was using an example from something that actually got published. But I noticed the disdain so many moderators now have when published writers/working professionals actually participate.

The idea of #WomenWriteChange has gotten some positive feedback, so I’m going to put something together. Stay tuned.

Worked with a client yesterday, and will do so today. Yesterday with the client was exhausting on far too many levels. Ran around trying to get other quotes for the work that needs to happen on the car. It shouldn’t be this hard to get an oil change, for goodness’ sake. It never used to be.

RELICS needs to go into galleys by the end of the week, so I have to double down.

And I need to finish my speech for the human rights conference.

Onward.